Our Milky Way galaxy is one major cosmic conundrum that will keep giving astronomers a lot of homework. For instance, one of the upcoming plans is to deploy the next-generation James Webb Telescope to uncover more about the galaxy’s core and the supermassive black hole located there.
But Webb will launch around Christmas, which means that scientists still have plenty of time to learn more about the galaxy. According to NewScientist, a mysterious phenomenon is keeping cosmic rays out of the Milky Way’s core. Scientists are eager to find out more.
More density of cosmic rays for the rest of the Milky Way
To observe how the cosmic rays are avoiding the Milky Way’s core, the data gathered by the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope was examined by Xiaoyuan Huang from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and his colleagues.
It seems that cosmic rays don’t neglect the part of the galaxy outside the kernel, which is puzzling. Supernovae as well as other energetic objects from the Universe are shooting such cosmic rays into other regions of space, including our galaxy.
The central molecular zone (CMZ) represents the area closest to the Milky Way’s core, and cosmic ray density was found to be dipping in this region.
Xiaoyuan Huang declared, as quoted by NewScientist:
If there is no barrier, the cosmic ray sea component should also be present in the CMZ region,
However, the data indicate that it is just the opposite and a barrier must be present.
The scientist didn’t hesitate to bing a possible explanation, as cited by the same source:
It is likely that stronger magnetic fields exist in the CMZ than outside, which may block cosmic rays from penetrating into the CMZ,
In addition, there may be magnetised winds, driven by the activity of the central supermassive black hole Sagittarius A*, which also help stop particles from entering the CMZ.
The Milky Way contains between 100 billion and 200 billion stars, which can only mean that astronomers will never run out of material to study!